Monday, May 21, 2012

In time and space.

The theme for this week is “Far from home.”

When I was a kid living in Massachusetts my parents bought some land up in New Hampshire.  The deed to the property, probably originally dating back to the 1700’s, read “20 acres, more or less”.  My parents should have had it surveyed when they bought it, because when they sold it 2 decades later, the surveyor found it to be about 12 acres.  It was 80 miles (129 km) from our home, near the town of Bradford, New Hampshire.

The cabin my dad and uncle built seems to be gone now, I spent some time on Google Maps going up and down the Old Sutton Road looking and couldn’t find it.  It had an old wood burning stove for heat and cooking and we got our water from a hand pump just down the hill.   At the time, those 80 miles seemed like a long way away, but it was always a lot of fun to get out into the wilderness.

In August of the same year the previous two pictures were taken, we left for a year in Europe.  My dad taught one semester at the University in Grenoble, and my parents enrolled us 4 kids in the public schools there.  There was no FSL (French as a Second Language) class for us to take, so we just muddled our way through.  I remember coming home and taking a French class in Middle School and being as fluent in French as the teacher.

For the first time in my life we lived in an apartment, on the 10th floor of a building that had intermittently working elevators.  Still, it was worth the trek every morning for our baguette and croissants.  I took this picture from the window of our apartment.

I had my own little instamatic camera and took a ton of pictures even back then.  Unfortunately these are the only three that seemed to have survived the move out here to Utah.


Lisa Shafer said...

A wonderful post. I knew most of it, but somehow it had escaped my memory that you spoke French. How much do you still remember?

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I love those photos... I had a Brownie camera as well...I used b&w film and the photos have still remained the same.

Max Sartin said...

Un petit peu. When the French teacher speaks to me in French, I get an idea of what she is saying, but that's it.

Carmi Levy said...

I grew up in Montreal, so your experiences learning French resonated with me. Our family was English, but I ended up learning more from the street than I ever did in class.

You seriously have the most amazing photographic archives of anyone I know!

Gilly said...

That last one really looks "far from home" - something about that French countryside that could not possibly be the US.

And now I suppose I will have loads of North Americans saying how their countryside is just the same as Grenoble!! ;)

Max Sartin said...

Carmi - We spent the summer of '67 in Montreal. I didn't learn much French that summer, except how to pronounce Captain Crunch with what we thought was a French accent.

Gilly - That's ok, I agree with you, it looks very Grenoble to me.

lailani said...

A very enjoyable post! Made me a little nostaligic thinking about childhood journeys...none as exciting as yours though!

Alexia said...

Fascinating post, Max. I love your old photos - you have made me determined to scan the photos I have got tucked away in boxes and old albums. Someday. When I retire.

I have taught French on occasion over my teaching career. I can still read it fairly easily, but I'm not fluent any more - if i ever was.

Thanks for this post! Very cool.

Karen S. said...

How awesome! Your far from home story reminds me of some other brothers and (their property) like father like sons! Right! Amazing photos, especially France even the quality of it! :)

Max Sartin said...

No doubt about that. A while ago, when my older brother's kids were teens, we were camping. I can't remember what we were doing or saying, but all of a sudden we stopped in our tracks, looked at each other and one of us said "Oh my God. We've grown up to be dad and Uncle Vinio!"
History repeats itself.

Bob Scotney said...

Three great shots, Max. We never at a camera when I was a kid, in fact I must have been in my twenties before I had my first one. I guess it was the when I was in the army before I was far away from home and then I spent some time in France, but didn't improve my French or get any photos there.